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Mr. Cuccinelli said Thursday that the critical reception to the past comments by Mr. Jackson “doesn’t change our message a lick.”

“He’s gotta defend all his own statements, and he’s going to go about doing that. But we run our own race and we laid out the path we were on some time ago. And we’ve stayed on that path, and it’s a focus on increasing economic activity in Virginia so we can grow jobs in the private sector,” he said. “That’s our focus.”